Wednesday 3 February

I ventured out to the big Tesco in Purley, partly by way of a change, and partly because I wanted to buy some birthday cards, and decided I might look at the clothes, as I have had nothing new for months and months. Not that I really need anything but I am getting very sick and tired of the same three pairs of trousers where the knees are going whiter and whiter. I read today that personal hygiene is slipping down the rankings. Why have so many showers or change your clothes so often when you are not using public transport or traipsing round the office? Anyway I did treat myself to a new pair of trousers, is the end of this anecdote.

I then went for a walk on Riddlesdown. To my surprise there is now a charge for parking there. £1.50 for up to 2 hours, then £3. £3 for any time at the weekend. This is a bit of a shock as it has always been free. There was a notice saying hard times, short of money etc etc and now there would be charges here and on the Farthing Downs in Coulsdon. The result was that there were 5 cars in the car park, but lots of people with dogs, children, bikes, all of whom had parked in the residential side roads for free and which have access to Riddlesdown from the side. It may be a matter of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, I fear. I managed two and a half miles, and as I had done my Pilates this morning, I felt that I had acquitted myself reasonably well for my daily exercise.

I watched Rick Stein in his Secret France programme tonight. For a man with a German surname his pronunciation is excruciating. He visited a Weinstube in Alsace which he called a winstoob. Now come on, he travels with a whole film crew, someone must have a better idea than that! The countryside and the food, and the wine, looked so delicious. I really am getting itchy feet to book up some kind of a holiday: I guess it will have to be within the UK though. France is so close……..

Perhaps you know the Australian classical guitarist Craig Ogden. Nephew Tim plays classical guitar and he first introduced me to his playing. I heard him today, together with a mandolin, in Vivaldi’s concerto. Very soothing.

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